Ann B. Burns

Ann Burns assists business owners and families in matters pertaining to estate and charitable gift planning, business succession planning, estate and trust administration, and fiduciary and tax litigation.

As a certified public accountant (inactive), Ann provides her clients with legal insight informed by a practical understanding of the intricacies of tax law and financial planning. She represents multi-generational families of wealth throughout the country, assisting and guiding them in their relationships with trustees and other advisors. Ann also represents individual and corporate trustees in fiduciary controversies in state and federal courts.

While Ann’s clients value the depth of her legal acumen, they especially appreciate her clarity and sensitivity in navigating the unique interpersonal dynamics that can impact the estate-planning process. She collaborates closely with her clients and their advisors to ensure a long-term plan that not only satisfies their financial needs, but also reflects their core personal values.

In recognition of her knowledge in the field, Ann has been elected as President of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, for which she has served as a regent since 2013. Ann is also a past practice group chair at the firm. In addition, she has been a featured speaker for the Salvation Army’s annual Estate and Charitable Gift Planning Institute.

Outside her legal practice, Ann serves as a member of the board of trustees for The Minneapolis Foundation, providing oversight and guidance for the foundation’s efforts to promote education, economic development, and civic engagement in the Minneapolis community.

Recent Presentations

  • Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, University of Miami School of Law, frequent presenter from 2005-present on subjects including tax controversies; Section 2053 regulations; integrating estate plans with business succession planning; disclaiming assets, interests, and powers; and using exclusions
  • The Salvation Army – Annual Estate & Charitable Gift Planning Institute Seminar, frequent co‑presenter from 2014-present on subjects including representing families and fiduciaries; planning strategies for the small, medium, and large estate; tailoring estate planning by adapting traditional techniques; and estate planning check-ups
  • American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, frequent co-presenter from 2012-present on subjects including handling the toughest issues in the operation and succession of a family business; estate planning best practices for large estate business interest owners; and estate planning strategies in current tax law environment; and tax litigation
  • Annual Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium, presenter from 2016-present on subjects including family businesses and ethical dilemmas that estate and business planners face
  • American Bar Association – Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section CLE, panelist in 2017 on disclaimers



  • Presenter, "Keeping It All in the Family: Business Succession Planning Strategies to Keep the Family and the Business Intact,” 40th Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium Annual Conference, April 23, 2021

Client Alerts and Blog Posts

  • April 9, 2020
  • “Business Succession Planning Answer Book,” coauthored, Commerce Clearing House
    January 1, 2011
  • “Disclaiming Assets, Interests, and Powers,” LexisNexis 2010 Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, Volume 44
    January 1, 2010
  • "The Increased Exemption Creates Opportunity," Trusts & Estates
    March 1, 2009
  • "Section 2053 Proposed Regs," Trusts & Estates
    July 1, 2008
  • “Deductible Reasoning: Section 2053 Proposed Regs—Take The Guess Work Out of Deductible Claims,” LexisNexis 2008 Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, Volume 42
    January 1, 2008

News Releases

Professional Affiliations

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), President, 2021; President-elect, 2020; vice president, 2019; treasurer, 2018; secretary, 2017; regent, 2013–present; fellow, 1995–present; Business Planning Committee, chair, 2014–2018

Community Involvement

  • The Minneapolis Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2011–2020
  • Greater Twin Cities United Way, Founding Member, Women's Leadership Council and Annual Campaign Cabinet, 2009–2011


  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 1995–2021
  • “Minnesota Super Lawyer®,” Thomson/Reuters, 2012–2021
    • "The Top 50 Women," 2010-2021
    • "The Top 100," 2017-2021
    • "The Top 100 Women," 2005-2009
Photo of Ann B. Burns
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    500 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
F: 612.632.4402


Lisa Peterson Hall

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court


University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 1981

Iowa State University, 1978, undergraduate degree


  • Law clerk for the Honorable Judge Donald R. Ross, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals